For the past several years I have been heading to Florida in the middle of March to attend the annual Sebring 12 hour sports car endurance race, and to take lots of pictures. This year, I hooked up with my nephew Garrick, and his friends Sebastian, Jason, Paul, and Rob. Sebastian and Jason had set up a camp site late Thursday evening, so we had a place to crash and hide out in the shade during the hottest portion of the day. The great thing about these guys was that everyone except Garrick was a photographer, so we spent quite a bit of time comparing photos and talking gear.
This year, I wanted to shoot primarily with my Tamron 200-500mm lens (with a crop format sensor, this equates to 300-750mm in 35mm-speak). The lens is plenty sharp for most purposes, but it is very slow to auto focus. To get around that, I pre-focused to approximately where I intended to trip the shutter, meaning the lens did not have to do too much mechanical adjustment when the time came.
Also, shooting with a lens that long is like trying to look at the world through a straw. The work around I developed for that was to actually keep both eyes open, with the camera’s viewfinder to my right eye, while my left eye gave me a broader view of approaching action. Most of the time I use this lens mounted on a tripod or a monopod, but some situations call for handholding the lens, like the closeup of the cockpit area of this car leaving turn 5.
Unlike prior years, I stayed at the track for the entire race. Dusk-into-night racing presented some unique photo opportunities, and I think I got one of the best shots of the day at nearly 8pm between turns 5 and 6. This time I shot with the Nikkor 70-200mm and the ISO boosted to 600. Notice the light reflection on the driver’s face mask.